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Aron Johannsson’s first U.S. start not perfect, but promising

Oct 11, 2013, 9:45 PM EDT


KANSAS CITY – Aron Johannsson wasn’t much of a dead-eye shot in his first U.S. start, but the young Icelandic-American did enough right that he made manager Jurgen Klinsmann look good for starting him Friday at Sporting Park.

It really was something to build on for the 22-year old striker who is still so new to the international game.

Yes, at some point a striker has to score goals. The Alabama-born man had three good chances to score and failed to hit the target with any of them. So it was something of a mixed bag for young Johannsson, but all in all it was quite promising as he looks to wedge his way into a collection of strikers that is already full of quality.

Johannsson protected possession like his life depended on it, no easy job when so many of his touches were in the transition, where he held balls against two or more defenders while midfielders caught up with the play. His positioning was smart and touches were sharp on that target-man play.

Other elements of Johannsson’s game have a bit of maturity about them, too. For instance, he seems to understands where and when to pressure defenders, and when the absence of accompanying support will render it a lost cause.

His passing was well-aimed and occasionally creative.

About that faulty shooting? That will come around. Clearly he knows how to locate goal; he has 10 goals already across all competitions for Alkmaar. Just getting into those spots was good enough for a guy who has been in the player pool only about six weeks. Klinsmann seems to feel the same way:

“He created chances for himself and that’s what you want to see with a striker, that he knows where the ball will end up,” Klinsmann said. “He missed those chances, but he was there. That’s good to see. In the second half he ran out of gas a little bit, and that’s why we subbed him out.”

(MORE: Initial takeaways from U.S. win over Jamaica)

(MORE: 10 quick halftime thoughts from U.S.-Jamaica qualifier)

  1. godsholytrousers - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    I thought he played well, especially given the lack of service during his time in the game. Obviously the switch to 4-5-1 was good for the team, and I’d like to see him get that spot up top in a match before the Brazil World Cup. Maybe against Scotland?

  2. elfurrymonkey - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    He had an all right game. He had excellent positioning but couldn’t finish the chances he had. He just needs to improve his finishing. The talent is undeniable though.

    • braxtonrob - Oct 12, 2013 at 12:36 AM

      I’m going to cut him a tiny bit of slack and assume he was very nervous, (but the finishing still has to be much better).

  3. dfstell - Oct 12, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    His finishing was off, but (a) that was his first start for us and (b) bad finishing just happens sometimes…..anyone who has kicked a soccer ball knows this.

    But, man……that first touch! And all those lovely weighted passes……the guy he was passing to almost never had to alter course or pace to run right onto the ball!

    He’s a keeper.

  4. unclemosesgreen - Oct 12, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    I thought he was a bit technically slow – not sold but I agree that he did enough to merit further playing time. Also it is troubling that he gassed in the second half – a 22 year old who starts in the Eredivise should be match fit.

    • godsholytrousers - Oct 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      He made a ton of runs back into the midfield to pick up the ball, add that to the runs up front and you may understand the work rate that he put in. I’d say the coaching staff will rate him very high (except the finishing). This is the cream of the crop, and we’ve got him for the next 10 years.

      • unclemosesgreen - Oct 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        The reviews I’ve read tend to the starry-eyed. He was just o.k. He didn’t lay a turd – he definitely showed enough against indifferent competition to merit more minutes.

        No problem with his work rate but if he can’t sustain it for 90 minutes now then it may not be in his locker. It may be down to travel – who knows.

      • bear06 - Oct 13, 2013 at 2:28 AM

        Aron didn’t have his best game but he is a quality player in the making.

    • bear06 - Oct 13, 2013 at 2:26 AM

      You’re an idiot.

      • unclemosesgreen - Oct 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        You’re a large asshole. Go dry-fist yourself.

    • bear06 - Oct 13, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      You don’t know sh!t about football unclemosesgreen. Go f***k yourself you ignorant buffoon.

      • unclemosesgreen - Oct 13, 2013 at 10:13 PM

        I know enough to call it soccer you infected anal wart. And I’ve forgotten more about the game than you’ll ever know you fucking slob. You brought nothing to this conversation but ignorance, a terrible attitude & a complete inability to frame any kind of argument. You were obviously conceived with a weak semen – your mother should have just sucked off that John instead of fucking him.

    • bear06 - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:07 AM

      And that’s why you’re a fucking idiot that doesn’t know anything about the game. The world calls the beautiful game football not soccer.You brought nothing but a BS opinion that quickly showed that you didn’t know what you were talking about. You were obviously conceived with a weak seamen, your mother who was probably a whore should have just gave your dad a quickie instead of fucking him and bringing a piece of shit peasant into the world.

      Pathetic piece of shit internet trolls like you make me laugh.

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